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Familius publishing

Started by jeanne-bowman, September 11, 2017, 12:01 PM

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jeanne-bowman

Hello!  I hope I am posting in the right place.

I recently sent out a postcard mailing and was contacted by Familius publishing to illustrate a story from the public domain. I haven't done this before, and I am excited in their interest and don't want to lose this job. However, they say that they do not offer advances, only royalties at 10% once the book is published. I am not sure how I should respond. A year's work without pay is a little daunting. Does anyone have any advice for this illustrator?

Thanks!

HaroldU

If you're not busy with other work, this could be worth it, as it might enable you to produce a book that would give you a track record. But be careful what you get into. Do some research:

I'd advise you to find out what they do to distribute and market their books. Do they have national distribution or do they just sell on Amazon? Do they have a sales force? Do they have a track record of being able to generate decent sales?

You should also find out if they have an art director on staff with whom you would be working, or if you would be on your own or dealing with a freelancer.

Find out how they print their books. Do they do a full print run or do they rely on POD?

Ask them if you can speak with an illustrator who has a book or books already published by them.

If they're not paying you an advance, then they have less invested in the book, so you need to find out if you can rely on them to help you earn some money...
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: https://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HUnderdown/

HaroldU

Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: https://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HUnderdown/

Kell

Is it part of the series that includes adapted Shakespeare and Austen for kids?
http://familius.com/shakespeare-stories-for-kids
http://familius.com/pride-and-prejudice

Can you ask Familius what kind of sales those books had and what they are projecting? You could also talk to the illustrator. The books look really well done, btw.


Kell Andrews
www.kellandrews.com

THIS OR THAT, Tilbury House, 2021
THE BOOK DRAGON, Sterling, 2018
MIRA FORECASTS THE FUTURE, Sterling, 2016

jeanne-bowman

Quote from: HaroldU on September 11, 2017, 12:49 PM
If you're not busy with other work, this could be worth it, as it might enable you to produce a book that would give you a track record. But be careful what you get into. Do some research:

I'd advise you to find out what they do to distribute and market their books. Do they have national distribution or do they just sell on Amazon? Do they have a sales force? Do they have a track record of being able to generate decent sales?

You should also find out if they have an art director on staff with whom you would be working, or if you would be on your own or dealing with a freelancer.

Find out how they print their books. Do they do a full print run or do they rely on POD?

Ask them if you can speak with an illustrator who has a book or books already published by them.

If they're not paying you an advance, then they have less invested in the book, so you need to find out if you can rely on them to help you earn some money...

Thank you Harold! I just finished reading your article about no advance publishers and found it very helpful. I do know that I will be working with an Art Director. In fact, he looks like a partner in the company so I don't have any fear there. Many of the books in their list are illustrated by him.  Can I just outright ask about sales? Or is that something I need to research on my own? If so, where would you look first?

jeanne-bowman

Quote from: Kell on September 11, 2017, 01:32 PM
Is it part of the series that includes adapted Shakespeare and Austen for kids?
http://familius.com/shakespeare-stories-for-kids
http://familius.com/pride-and-prejudice

Can you ask Familius what kind of sales those books had and what they are projecting? You could also talk to the illustrator. The books look really well done, btw.




Hi Kell, thank you for responding. This would actually be for a different PB project, which is right up my alley. I will certainly ask about the sales of those books, but the illustrator is actually the Art Director of the company in the case of the Pride and Prejudice book. I think I shall dig around and ask some of the other illustrators though. Thanks so much!


Wendy Martin

I also received an offer from Familus (maybe 6 years ago.) Same deal. I tried to negotiate for an advance. I do not remember the details but a few months later, I received an email that the book had been cancelled and there would be no further negotiations. The gentleman was polite and respectful in every correspondence. In my case, I had several books already out in the market, one with an award, and felt I should not work for royalties only. My first book was published with a royalty only deal and if I had to do it over again, I would not. The book's publisher never paid me the royalties due before they folded. I had to get a lawyer involved to get my rights returned.

You have received some excellent advice, but my suggestion would be to concentrate on creating your own book dummy - perfecting both your writing and illustrating skills; that way spending the year producing work you can use to gain either an agent or a publishing deal with an advance. Do your research, gather both the sales figures and other illustrators' experience with Familius. They have been around for a while and seem to be gathering speed. Perhaps your experience would be better than mine.
patreon.com/wendymartin
Animal Totem Mandala 2016
The Story Circle 2016 (PiƱata)
Color and Conjure 2017 (Llewellyn)

jeanne-bowman

Quote from: Wendy Martin on September 12, 2017, 06:03 AM
I also received an offer from Familus (maybe 6 years ago.) Same deal. I tried to negotiate for an advance. I do not remember the details but a few months later, I received an email that the book had been cancelled and there would be no further negotiations. The gentleman was polite and respectful in every correspondence. In my case, I had several books already out in the market, one with an award, and felt I should not work for royalties only. My first book was published with a royalty only deal and if I had to do it over again, I would not. The book's publisher never paid me the royalties due before they folded. I had to get a lawyer involved to get my rights returned.

You have received some excellent advice, but my suggestion would be to concentrate on creating your own book dummy - perfecting both your writing and illustrating skills; that way spending the year producing work you can use to gain either an agent or a publishing deal with an advance. Do your research, gather both the sales figures and other illustrators' experience with Familius. They have been around for a while and seem to be gathering speed. Perhaps your experience would be better than mine.

Thank you so much for your honesty Wendy! I appreciate it. I was hoping to hear from someone who has had the same experience as I have.  I am certainly afraid of taking the risk and being bitten for it down the road.  Your advice to work on my own projects is wise. I do have some bubbling on the stove... Thanks again!

HaroldU

Quote from: jeanne-bowman on September 11, 2017, 03:46 PM
Thank you Harold! I just finished reading your article about no advance publishers and found it very helpful. I do know that I will be working with an Art Director. In fact, he looks like a partner in the company so I don't have any fear there. Many of the books in their list are illustrated by him.  Can I just outright ask about sales? Or is that something I need to research on my own? If so, where would you look first?

I don't think you'll be able to find sales information for their books anywhere. I do think you should feel OK about asking them. If they aren't paying an advance, then you have a right to have SOME idea of what to expect. If their books average 5,000 copies sold over their in-print life, that's very different from 50,000.
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: https://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HUnderdown/

Mynamewastaken

See the book in my signature? I've had a wonderful experience with Familius thus far. My book is due out in March! I'd say go for it :) I am wondering if the book they wanted you to illustrate was mine??!!
How the Finch Got His Colors- Familius 2018
Why the Evergreen Trees Keep Their Leaves in Winter- Familius 2019

Debbie Vilardi

My Name Was Taken, I love seeing that this is coming out. I think I remember it from the crit boards. (Sorry for the derail. Just got excited.)
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

jeanne-bowman

Quote from: Mynamewastaken on November 12, 2017, 03:58 PM
See the book in my signature? I've had a wonderful experience with Familius thus far. My book is due out in March! I'd say go for it :) I am wondering if the book they wanted you to illustrate was mine??!!

Thanks to everyone's great advice I decided to go for the leap! I start working on it ASAP. I look forward to seeing your book! Once I get done with this one I'm assigned maybe we can exchange notes about our experiences!

Mynamewastaken

Quote from: Debbie Vilardi on November 13, 2017, 06:10 PM
My Name Was Taken, I love seeing that this is coming out. I think I remember it from the crit boards. (Sorry for the derail. Just got excited.)

Yes, Debbie, this was that story!! Sarah F. and Sharon C. were instrumental in helping to polish it. I have two more on submission...fingers crossed this is just the beginning :)
How the Finch Got His Colors- Familius 2018
Why the Evergreen Trees Keep Their Leaves in Winter- Familius 2019

Mynamewastaken

Quote from: jeanne-bowman on November 13, 2017, 06:28 PM
Thanks to everyone's great advice I decided to go for the leap! I start working on it ASAP. I look forward to seeing your book! Once I get done with this one I'm assigned maybe we can exchange notes about our experiences!

Congratulations!! I would love to hear more about your experience. Feel free to message me and we can exchange emails :)

How the Finch Got His Colors- Familius 2018
Why the Evergreen Trees Keep Their Leaves in Winter- Familius 2019

heidi-rizzi

Hi - I know this is an old thread, so I'm wondering how everyone's experiences were with Familius? They're interested in one of my books and I have a call set up with them. Thank you!! :new  :new

ButterflyGirl

One of my friends has published several books with Familius. From what she has told me, working with them has been a positive experience (and the illustrations in all of her books are absolutely beautiful!).
Best wishes!  :star2
Survivor Mountain (Wild Ink Publishing)
Butterfly Girl (Clear Fork)
Ten Clever Ninjas (Clear Fork)

Twitter: @kidlitSarah
website: sarahfloydbooks.com

heidi-rizzi


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